Rock and Roll
Among the jukebox favorites from this 1950s music that we explore is “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper. It is golden oldies music that rocks with a sense of humor. The Big Bopper was the professional name of Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson, Jr., who was an early rock and roller. He was born in Sabine Pass TX, in 1930. He was a singer, songwriter, and disc jockey with a BIG personality. In1955, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and became a radar instructor at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. George Jones had success with Richardson’s song “White Lightning.” Also, Richardson sang background vocals for Johnny Preston’s song “Running Bear” (the record was released shortly after Richardson’s death).
The song “Chantilly Lace” peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 and remained in the national Top 40 for 22 weeks. It has become a rock and roll classic. Jayne Mansfield came out with an answer song to it, which was called “That Makes It.” Richardson also had a hit with his follow-up, which was “The Big Bopper’s Wedding,” where he’s not so sure matrimony is a good idea.
The Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and pilot Roger Peterson on February 3, 1959, which is known as “the day the music died.” Rock and roll continued, of course, but there was great sadness to lose these young musicians.